Politician Gender Swap: Imagining an alternate universe

Hear me out before you burn me down.


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So, apparently, our male politicians do not respect women a lot. We are all shocked, SHOCKED to know this. The reason behind this may be that we (men) don’t consider women our equals, we do not think that they are the exact same beings as men except for some inconsequential physical differences.

Maybe we can change that by looking at our leaders, men and women, in a different light? Maybe if we can for a moment re-imagine women as men and men as women, our perception of them will change a tiny bit?

Technology now allows us to do this. An amazing app on Google Play Store uses Artificial Intelligence and Neural Networks to re-imagine a photo by giving it the opposite gender.

Should we be doing this? We are not exactly sure. What are moral and ethical arguments against doing such a thing? I personally have no idea.

But look at this. This is Imra Khan. This is a veteran politician who used to be a sportswoman. She also has a lot of gossipy sex-scandals in her past. Re-imagine her past and present, do we respect her any less or idolize her any less because she is a woman? If the answer is yes, we might have internalize misogyny to such an extent we don’t even realize it’s there.

This is Dr. Sher Mazari. He is a nationalistic foreign policy and national security expert with a huge following. He has published books and many research papers. Does anyone in the country dare to call him demeaning names like ‘tractor-trolly’ on the National Assembly floor?

This is Shabana Sharif. She is the sister of our Prime Minister. Will we readily accept her as the chief minister of our largest province? Or will we reject her outright without giving her a chance to show how capable she is?

This is Shehnaz Mehmood Qureshi. She is the daughter of an influential family from South Punjab. Will she be given the custodianship of a major Sufi Shrine in Multan? Will she be called a Makhdoom and a Pir and given the leadership of her tribe?

This is Sheikh Rasheeda. She is famous for her sex scandals and coarse language. She once famously said, “If men are available in the market, why do I have to get married?” Does Pakistan take her seriously?

This is Hamid Rabbani Khar. Scion of a powerful political family, he has represented and aggressively defended Pakistan at major international forums. He is a handsome and well-educated fellow. Do we regularly discuss his accessories or the content of his character? Do we appreciate or ridicule him?

This is Raheem Khan. He is a famous TV Anchor and a Journalist. He married a Pakistani politician. Will there be a scandal about it? Will he become the focus of abuse just because of his decision to marry?

This is Asma Zardari. Would she be given the party’s leadership after her husband’s death? After repeated corruption scandals against her, will we still tolerate her? Will we make her the leader of her tribal clan?

This is Jahangira Tareen. Will it be so easy for her to get the top position in her party immediately after joining or will she have to prove herself again and again?

This is Shehryar Rehman. He is an accomplished professional and a veteran politician. Will a photo of him with a cigarette in his hand create a huge scandal?


Should we have made these photos? That is debatable. Maybe I crossed a line here. Maybe this whole article is deeply problematic and in poor taste.

Or maybe we need to reconsider the way we think about people and judge them. I made these photos because technology allows me to imagine an alternate universe and I want to imagine a universe where roles are reversed just to know more about the universe we live in.

If you are outraged, consider this post-modern art and send all hatemail to test@example.com

(The article does not mean to ridicule anyone, especially based on their gender. All photos made with FaceApp android software)

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Waqas Ahmed

Waqas Ahmed

Waqas Ahmed is Editor, Digital Media, at Daily Pakistan Global. You can reach him at waqas@dailypakistan.com.pk